Patronage Refund: As a Member -Owner when the co-op makes a profit, you are eligible to receive a small percentage of the total amount of money you spend at NOFC each year. When the co-op has a profit at the end of the year, our General Manager and Board of Directors determine what can be returned to the Member-Owners while sustaining a financially healthy position for your co-op.
WHAT IS THE PATRONAGE REFUND?
- New Orleans Food Co-op exists for the benefit of our member-owners. These benefits include democratic, economic, social, environmental, and informational benefits for our owners, as well as sense of contribution in making positive social, economic, and environmental impacts in our broader community.
- The Patronage Refund Program is our primary economic benefit for owners.
- The Patronage Refund is a financially sustainable economic benefit. Through this program and our triple-bottom-line approach to achieve financial, social, and economic goals, we assess and prioritize use of our profits. Profits are used to ensure the success of the co-op, benefit our owners, and advance our Ends, Vision & Goals. We work to achieve a healthy profit, maintain adequate capital to ensure the short and long-term success, reinvest in our co-op, support our community, and distribute a sustainable portion of our profits back to our owners.
- The Patronage Refund System is based on individual member-owner patronage (how much you spend) & the net-profit of the Co-op as a whole. The Co-op keeps track of how much each owner spends during the year and sends a percentage of it back to the member-owners after the year ends. The amount of the refund is Board determined, taking into account the overall financial wellbeing of the Co-op. It is possible that the board may choose to not issue a patronage refund in some years. This way we share the risks and benefits of ownership together – cooperatively!
- We are use a careful system of checks and balances to make sure our tracking system is accurate. We also have patronage information saved in such a way that it cannot be lost – it is “backed up”.
- In the first few years after the co-op opens there will be no profit and therefore no patronage refund.
WHEN WILL I GET MY PATRONAGE VOUCHER?
Thank you in advance for your patience over these first few years as we work to break a profit and implement our patronage refund system. Here is a general time line for the process once we start making a profit.
- NOFC’s hardworking management will close our books on March 15th each year. That is when we can determine what if any profit was made by our co-op in the previous year.
- Our member-elected, volunteer Board of Directors will decide what percentage of the previous years profits can be returned to you – the member-owners, while maintaining a financially healthy co-op, at their June board meeting. Members are always welcome to attend Board meetings. They are posted on our calendar and snacks are provided.
- We will announce the results in July – we’ll keep you posted on the date.
- Patronage vouchers will be mailed out at the end of July or early August. You’ll have the choice to spend your voucher, cash it out, or donate it.
DO I NEED TO DO ANYTHING?
- Cashiers will need your ownership card & number so we can track what each individual member-owner has spent during the year. Vouchers will be sent to the shareholder.
- We will mail Patronage vouchers to the address we have on file for you. That means you have to tell us when you move!
- Member-owners must be current on their share payments (not on hold) to accrue patronage. We always send reminder letters weeks in advance.
HOW DO I USE MY PATRONAGE REFUND?
- Voucher: we’ll give you a voucher because we want you to come into our lovely co-op. The voucher may be used like a gift certificate to the co-op
- Check: you may mail the voucher back to the co-op and get a check instead if you desire.
- Donate: you may donate your voucher to our Cooperative Community Fund by mailing it back or giving it to a cashier. Donated vouchers will be reinvested into our cooperative development & community giving programs.